system to demonstrate that high-efficiency electric propulsion can be integrated with aerodynamics to increase the performance of an airplane. To this end, distributed electric fans were installed on the wing to provide increased flow over the wing at the low takeoff and landing speeds of the X-57. The low-speed lift augmentation allows for a reduction in wing area for cruise optimization. The X-57 wing area was reduced to 42 percent of the wing area of the baseline aircraft, a Tecnam P2006T. With this reduced wing area and the electric propulsion system, it is estimated that the X-57 will cruise on less than one-third the total energy compared to the baseline aircraft. To meet the cruise performance goal at a Mach number of 0.233 at an altitude of 8000 feet, the X-57 has a cruise lift coefficient of 0.7516 and needs to have a cruise drag coefficient of 0.05423 or less. The USM3D computational solver was used to investigate the X-57 performance, without the distributed electric propulsion high-lift system operating. The unpowered X-57 performance is of interest to quantify if the X-57 can meet the cruise drag performance goal, and to document the lift performance of the very small wing at takeoff and landing conditions. The primary configurations investigated in this paper include the cruise configuration with no flap deflection, a takeoff configuration with a 10◦ flap deflection, and a landing configuration with a 30◦ flap deflection. The conditions for the cruise configuration were a flight unit Reynolds number of 1.32E+06 per foot, an altitude of 8000 feet, a Mach number of 0.233, and angles of attack from −2° to 24° . At the cruise lift coefficient of 0.7516, the computed drag coefficient is 0.05275. This computed drag is less than the drag coefficient of 0.05423 that is required to meet the X-57 airplane performance goal. However, the computational airplane is a completely smooth geometry and does not account for protuberance drag, nor the drag from steps and gaps in the actual X-57 airplane. Therefore, based upon the CFD drag calculation there is a 10-percent margin to account for some of the differences between the as-built metal fuselage and empennage construction, and the smooth computational geometry. The computed cruise drag also does not account for an induced drag reduction due to the wing-tip propellers and a drag reduction due to laminar flow achieved on the wing. The computed lift to drag ratio is 14.14 at the cruise lift coefficient of 0.7516, and the maximum computed lift to drag ratio is 15.8. The maximum lift coefficient for the cruise configuration was 2.13 at an angle of attack of 15°. The conditions for the takeoff configuration with a 10° flap deflection were a flight unit Reynolds number of 0.986E+06 per foot, an altitude of 2500 feet, a Mach number of 0.149, and angles of attack from −2° to 22°. The maximum lift coefficient for the takeoff configuration was 2.21 at an angle of attack of 16°. The conditions for the landing configuration with a 30° flap deflection were a flight unit Reynolds number of 0.922E+06 per foot, an altitude of 2500 feet, a Mach number of 0.139, and angles of attack from −2° to 24°. The maximum lift coefficient for the landing configuration was 2.58 and occurred at two angles of attack, 10° and 14°. Based on the unpowered maximum lift coefficient of 2.58 for the 30° flap deflection, along with computations of the distributed electric propulsion lift augmentation (not shown in this paper), the X-57 Maxwell is estimated to meet its powered landing goal of a maximum lift coefficient of 4.0.

Document ID

20210011034

Acquisition Source

Langley Research Center

Document Type

Technical Memorandum (TM)

Authors

Date Acquired

March 8, 2021

Publication Date

April 1, 2022

Subject Category

Funding Number(s)

Distribution Limits

Public

Copyright

Public Use Permitted.

Technical Review

NASA Technical Management

Keywords

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